Mill rate drops 19 cents
By Robert Cloud
The Waupaca School Board approved a $33.38 million budget for 2017-18 at its Oct. 26 meeting.
The total tax levy to support this year’s school budget will be nearly $16.25 million.
While the levy will rise from last year’s $15.87 million, the 2017-18 tax rate will drop by 19 cents to $10.79 per $1,000 of valuation. That equates to $1,079 in school taxes on a $100,000 home.
The tax rate is lower because total property values within the district rose 4.2 percent to $1.5 billion.
The district will also receive more state general aid this year.
In 2017-18, Waupaca schools will receive $8.68 million in state aid, a $196,000 increase from 2016-17 state.
Waupaca’s state aid, however, has dropped by a total of more than $3.65 million since 2008-09 due to declining enrollments and state budget cuts.
Carl Hayek, the district’s business manager, noted a direct relationship between dwindling state aid and increased property taxes in the school districts.
Over the same nine-year period, the Fund 10 tax levy, which supports general operating costs, rose from $9.5 million in 2009-10 to $12.95 million in 2017-18.
“We could have taxed less if we had more general state aid,” Hayek said. “We only take what we need.”
Hayek said the district still taxes below the state’s revenue cap.
In 2011-12, the Waupaca School District’s property taxes were $2.76 million below the revenue limit and remained at least $1 million below the cap each year until this year.
In 2017-18, the district will tax $537,000 below its revenue cap.
Of the total 2017-18 tax levy, approximately $12.86 million will be for the general fund, $3.15 million will be for debt service and $216,257 will be for non-referendum debt, which includes the $1 million borrowed for the new athletic complex.